Healthcare. OK big debate. My stance:
- You shouldn't have to think about going bankrupt when in a medical emergency
- We spend the most, of the industrialized world, on medical care
- We rank 50th in terms of longevity
- 49 countries have longer lives, good healthcare and spend less on it per person
- Our personal experience with medicine, i.e. doctors and hospitals, is virtually the same as countries with socialized medicine
Again I'm not usually the biggest fan of New Scientist, but this a pretty straightforward explanation.
Its not that hard, medicine is one thing we can learn from our planetary neighbors. We can teach how to keep, say, energy and food prices low, but when it comes to healthcare we are the students not the teachers.
So, we get a president and congress who can finally do something about a rotten system. They have been talking about it for literally years. What do I hear over and over again?
"Why are the politicians trying to shove "Universal Health Care" down out throats?"
"Shoving Government Health Care Down Your Throat"
"Democrats are "shoving" Kennedy's bill down Republicans' throats without considering their ideas. "
" no bipartisan debate"
"There is no debate. Congress & the Senate pass whatever laws they want, even if they have never read the bill"
"they are enacting this leftist agenda, without reading the bills!"
Two shadowy back-room deals are being struck right now inCongress as part of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi push to advance socialized healthcare before the August “recess.”
Ok, I could obviously go on forever here. The rallying cry here for the paranoid right is that this bill is just running through congress and will be signed without anyone reading it and americans will suffer from lower healthcare costs and longer lifespans...Oh wait.. That's not quite what they are saying is it?
What do you mean there is no debate?
Formal debate started back in the middle of June (yeah over a month ago). Immediately it focused around costs and including republicans views:
"A bipartisan bill takes far more time than not," said Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which had been expected to unveil a package of reforms by tomorrow and hold a committee vote next week. Amid concerns about cost from Republicans and some Democrats, Baucus said he has agreed "to slow things down" and that committee action could be delayed until after the Fourth of July recess.
More recently "Blue Dog" democrats (some of whom are hardly democrat) had the ball. Again it came to fiscal responsibility, which I am all for. Guess what? After more discussion and negotiation, even they have come on board for the most part.
So there was a deadline. What happened?
"We did give them a deadline, and sort of we missed that deadline. But that's OK," Obama said. "We don't want to just do it quickly, we want to do it right.
This bill has gone through committee (13 dems 10 reps) after committee (13 dems, 10 reps) after committee (36 dems, 23 reps). If no one is actually reading the bill, what is it they are debating for weeks on end with both republicans and democrats in these various committees? Really, does this sound like a bill being shoved down Americans throats?
Closed door? Really, why is it that you can download and read the very bills being debated?
At the committee for energy and commerce
At kaiser for side by side summaries (there are 11 proposals on the table)
Policy options at the senate finance committee
One complaint is that many of these versions are making it though committee with votes along party lines. Sorry but that is what you expect when you have a status quo loving, party of "no". They certainly yap that costs need to be controlled. But what is the plan?
Camp said that the House Republican proposal calls for refundable tax credits for lower-income Americans
Brilliant. Really, thats it. The rest of it is more of the same thing that has been tried in the last 12 years. Healthcare accounts which promote more of the same system we already have. If they were so great, why haven't people already taken advantage of it. Policy: failure.
Transfer medicaid benefits to private insurance. So, boosting more money into the current failed system. Policy: failure.
Pooling of groups to lower insurance rates. Already implemented. more of the same broken system. Policy failure.
Basically republicans offer more of the same system that is clearly broken and still don't know how to pay for that.
But what is this?
This Republican alternative bill also contains several ideas that are increasingly championed by both parties.
·~Longer coverage for youths. It would allow dependent children to stay on their parents' policies until they are 25.
·~Promotion of wellness at the workplace. It would encourage employers to reward employees for improved health.
·~Expansion of community health centers.
·~Mobile health care. It would allow Americans to maintain their specific health insurance policies when they lose or leave jobs.
·~In-home care. It would provide financial help and encourage more in-home care over institutions.
·~Limitations on malpractice lawsuits. There is general agreement over limiting such lawsuits, but a deep divide exists over exactly how much.
But but but, i thought you said that no one is listening to republican ideas? Even Obama said it himself:
“Medical liability issues — I think all those things have to be on the table,” Mr. Obama said. “And I won’t lie to you that everybody agrees on this theoretically until you start getting into the specifics.
Know what? Yeah if you have a national health care system (which is NOT what is being proposed) you can have significant tort reform. This is the model Australia uses (Who by the way is also far ahead of us in longevity)
Need for reform: cost reduction, economy boost, longevity gains
Closed door meetings: All bills and summaries of bills available online
No reading of bills: What is being debated then?
Shoved down our throats: Policy outlines started over a year ago, specifics over a month and a half ago, deadline for voting on it, late october.
Party of "No" Republicans and right wingnut blow hards? Utter and complete fail.